Srinagar is a place known for its scenic beauty amidst the lush greenery of Himalayas. Jammu and Kashmir are the place for many temples marking one of the most important places for Hindu pilgrims. One such temple that is located on top of the Shankaracharya hill, which is a part of the Zabarwan Mountains. It is located at a height of 1100 above the City of Srinagar. It is also called by the name Jyesteshwara temple, and Buddhists called it Pas-Pahar. Precisely the temple is said to have been built by Raja Gopadatya in 371 B.C.
At that time, the temple was known by the name Gopadari after the name of the king, but then the name is changed after the great saint Shankaracharya, who is said to have visited the valley ten centuries ago.
Cultural and religious significance
The Shankaracharya temple Srinagar timings have led to significant importance as far as culture and religion is concerned. Thousands of pilgrims from all over the country consider this place to be sacred and thus, pay a visit while going to the Amarnath Yatra. Apart from the religious point of view, this temple is also culturally rich as it has great aspects flaunting the architectural intelligence of that time. Though the temple has gone under several repairs, but the central shrine, possess the shape of circular space and after going for many repairs, the ceiling of the main chamber has taken a modern approach.
Knowing the presiding deity
The Shankaracharya temple Jammu Kashmir is known for its presiding deity, which is Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is said to be the patron Gods of the Hindus and thus have many temples dedicated to Him all over India. This temple also holds testimony to this fact.
About the Idol
It is quite a common fact and found in temples, all over India, that Lord Shiva is represented in its phallic form or Linga. The same is here in this temple. The interior part of the temple holds the sacred Linga of Lord Shiva which is oval in shape and is encircled by a snake. It is made of reddish black stone that is revived from the valley of river Narmada in Madhya Pradesh. It is told that the Shiv Linga is installed inside the temple when the Sikhs were ruling in the nineteenth century and then it came to be known as an active Hindu temple.
Other Shrines in the complex
There are no other shrines present in the temple complex and has only one presiding deity.
Nature of worship in the temple
Since the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and it is represented in its phallic form, so it is worshipped in the usual way as every Shiva Linga is worshipped. A Kalash is placed on top of the Linga and a mixture of honey, water and milk is kept inside it. The Kalash has a hole, and the mixture drops from it to provide the linga with the Holy blend. Apart from this morning and evening aarti is carried out in this temple. The temple stays open for the devotees from 7 in the morning to 8 in the evening. But since it is located on top of the hill so, communication is only available till 5 in the evening.
Special occasions and festivals
Maha Shiv Ratri is celebrated in full form in this temple. And ceremonies like birth and death of Shri Shankaracharya is also celebrated here. And apart from this, the month of Shravan is also quite necessary for this temple as devotees from Amarnath Yatra also visits this temple as a part of the holy ritual.
Aspects of Pilgrimage
There is no doubt that this temple is quite popular amongst the Hindus. And moreover, devotees and pilgrims who are in the path to travel to Amarnath Yatra also pay a visit to this temple. And moreover, there are also pilgrims from all over the country and in the state who comes to get visit the shrine and get the blessings of Lord Shiva. Outside the temple, there are several small huts situated which gives place to stay to the Brahmins, who look after the temple and carry on the everyday ritual.